Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Negotiation

Yesterday's two students today grew to five.  Only Santiago returned.  Carlos was mysteriously absent.  And the dynamics of the room completely changed.  

To start off the day, I had three students who refused to do any work.  They sat and talked.  (At least they weren't doing anything worse.)  Eventually, they got the first assignment packet done (I warned them that it would be done or they would be working outside until it was done).  Then, since it was the first day for two of them, I asked them to copy the class rules and daily schedule.  

They didn't have to think.  They didn't have to answer questions.  All they had to do was to copy already written out stuff onto a sheet of paper.  It should have taken them five minutes tops.  But they were having none of it.  

Diego wanted to look something up on the Internet.  Either Santiago or the other boy told Diego of this video or something.  Diego wanted to see it.  So, he set up a computer.  

The computer had been disconnected for the summer.  I didn't touch it.  Diego spent a good 20 minutes finding the right wires, connecting things, and turning the computer on.  It took a while for it to boot up.  But then he needed a password to log on, and that's where I had him.  

Diego asked me to log on to the computer.  I told him I would as soon as he finished copying the classroom rules and daily schedule.  

Oh, the whining.  He begged and pleaded for me to log on.  I repeated what I wanted.  He sat and complained.  So, instead of taking the five minutes to do as I asked, he spent a half hour trying to wear me down and get what he wanted.  

Finally, he figured that he was getting nowhere with me, and he was ready to copy the classroom rules.  But they were written in cursive, and he couldn't read cursive (oh, the horror!).  I told him that one of his friends could read the rules to him so that he could write them down.  Somehow, they managed to waste more time on that.  

Then, Santiago offered to let Diego copy his copy (he printed).  Diego was done in moments.  Then he asked me to log on to the computer again.  I reminded him that he still had one more thing to copy--the daily schedule.  He wailed.  I hadn't told him that!  

I knew he was going to do that.  I had been careful to say, "copy the class rules and daily schedule," every time I said it for just that reason.  He only battled me for a couple minutes before he finally relented and copied the daily schedule.  

True to my word, I logged on for him (after I checked to make sure that the copies were done).  Unfortunately, he was unable to find the thing he was looking for.  

All that drama for Internet access, and he couldn't even find whatever it was that the boys told him about.  I think I enjoyed that failure a little too much.  

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